Track Talk W9

Designing & Testing for the Billion Voices

Adonis Celestine

Julia Zacharias

13:45-14:30 CEST Wednesday 14th June

We are living in an era where Metaverses are blurring the line between the physical and digital worlds. An average person spends close to 8 hours per day in the digital space. But the needs and digital experience of every person is not the same.

We share the world with over a billion people with disabilities. At least 15% of the world’s population lives with a permanent disability, but everyone could be impacted by situational or temporary impairments, such as a broken arm, which may require assistance when using digital technology. Additionally, up to 60% of older adults have one or multiple disabilities. The older population is increasingly reliant on digital technology and will expect to continue to use it. However, accessibility in the digital world is still too often an afterthought and perceived by many organizations as a legal compliance exercise. But accessibility should not only be about checking off legal requirements, but about including and truly understanding the perspectives and needs of people with permanent, temporary and situational disabilities.

How can the digital space understand these realities and address the accessibility needs of more – ideally all – people? A key for inclusivity in the digital world is to include these perspectives into all phases of the Software Development Lifecycle. In our presentation, we would like to share our view on what an ideal mix of human input and Machine Learning assisted checks looks like at each phase of inclusive development: Market Research, Data Collection and Design needs perspectives and data from multiple users with and without disabilities. Development & Testing needs to adhere to the globally accepted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The mix between human and machine intelligence checks depend on the environment and intended target user audience. User acceptance testing should include users with and without disabilities to ensure truly inclusive products and experiences.

Above all, Implementing a right strategy for inclusiveness starts by training the team not only on technical guidelines and their implementation, but also on how to include and interact with users with disabilities.

Let’s bring down the barriers in the digital world and meaningful change to society across the globe!